From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

Now that we’ve survived the holidays, it’s time for our iconic joint meeting with the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) club at the University of Central Florida (UCF).

Vice President Nick Ducharme shares more about the event (for which I will be serving as the online moderator), including the awesome presentation line-up. Read on to learn more or visit our Meetup page.

In addition, it is my pleasure to welcome a new writer to MtM, Winfield Pearson, to recap our exciting first meeting of 2019.

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

Tech Comm Career Paths Presentations—FTC/STC Annual Meeting

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC

Friends,

Our chapter’s association with the University of Central Florida (UCF) has been one of our core strengths since long before I joined the chapter. For instance, our annual Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship has been awarded to UCF students with an interest in tech comm since the late 90s. We also partner with UCF’s Future Technical Communicators (FTC) club on our famous mentoring program each year, as well as an annual FTC/STC joint meeting hosted by UCF directly.

The time has come once again for this joint meeting! It will be held this Thursday evening, February 7th. It is free for all to attend, and it will also be the first joint meeting to include a virtual attendance option (as well as some virtual presenters)! A call-in link will be provided to those who RSVP. Refreshments will be served during the meeting networking time, and we will also honor the recipients of this year’s Melissa Pellegrin scholarships.

We worked closely with FTC to choose a topic that would be accessible to everyone, especially students and early-career professionals. This year’s topic is all about careers in technical communication, and we will be covering quite a few. 🙂

Here is our current presentation lineup:

  • Alex Garcia: Instructional Design
  • Rachel Eichen: Technical Trainer
  • Michael Todd: User Assistance Designer
  • Debra Johnson: Content Strategist
  • Angela Trenkle: Technical Writer in the Bioresearch Industry
  • Bethany Aguad: Technical Publications Coordinator
  • C. Wiese: Navigating Your Career

Please click here and RSVP for the “Tech Comm Career Paths Presentations—FTC/STC Annual Meeting. I hope you can join us!

January Meeting Recap

A Very Decent Proposal:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know
About Proposals but Were Afraid to Ask!

By: Winfield Pearson
Student Member
Florida Chapter, STC

The speaker of the night, Dan Voss, accompanies his proposal presentation with one of the many tales that come from his long career in proposal writing.

“A 5,000-page proposal is a marauding monster like Godzilla. If you’re afraid  of Godzilla, get off the proposal team!”– Dan Voss

In case you couldn’t attend or view the January 17th chapter meeting, it was all about “Writing a Winning Proposal: ‘Near Misses’ Only Count in Horseshoes and Nuclear War,” where the equally expert and eccentric speaker Dan Voss entertained and informed his audience at the IHOP on University Boulevard.

Attendees enjoyed piles of hash browns, sticky stacks of pancakes, and at least two pots of coffee per person while the relentlessly animated Dan relayed and reveled in his experiences navigating and surviving the equally sticky world of proposals during his 40 years as a proposal writer/manager for Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando.

Expert content management specialist Debra Johnson (second from left) ruminates over one of the several probing and insightful questions she posed to Dan during the presentation.

While it’s impossible to reproduce everything that makes a Dan Voss presentation the memorable occasion it is, some of his major points concerned fine-tuning your knowledge of the customer, knowing your competition, knowing your product/service, understanding your requirements, and planning your proposal.

Mr. Voss also covered the “Golden Rules” for writing, editing, and producing your proposal. The rules assist technical communicators in applying their core skills to polish the proposal, just one example of Dan’s useful tip to help hone the intimidating and lengthy proposal process. All of these tips were accompanied by anecdotes pertaining to such diverse subject matter as army colonels, raindrop radar, and even the ins and outs of mouse/elephant relations.

An audience of ten virtual and nine face-to-face viewers enjoyed the proceedings. Our innovative hybrid face-to-face/virtual meeting format allowed the audience to enjoy the presentation while freely fielding questions to the speaker. Throughout the evening, questions came in from across the state from one of the largest virtual audiences yet.

The in-person audience included two new mentees in the chapter’s student mentoring program co-sponsored with the Future Technical Communicators (FTC) club at UCF. The FTC student delegation included Tech Comm major Shawn Menard, who declared the presentation to be “informative and entertaining,”  a sentiment shared among the other attendees.

Dan wrapped up the night in the persona of his favorite proposal metaphor, the ill-fated Davy Crockett, who, at least in his own memory, led his besieged, outnumbered team to victory against impossible odds.

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

The holiday season is officially upon us, and I’m here to bring you good wishes for the new year! To kick those New Year resolutions off, read on to learn more about our January meeting or visit our Meetup page. (Hint: The topic is based off our survey results from you, dear readers!)

And while we look forward to the new year and all the exciting upcoming events for our chapter, Vice President Nick Ducharme takes a minute to recap our first three ground-breaking meetings of the 2018-19 year to celebrate our chapter’s successes while also, for me at least, psyching me up even more for this month’s meeting!

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the meeting!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

Get Hyped for This Month’s Meeting!

Writing a Winning Proposal

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC

Friends,

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! For me, it’s strange to jump back into the thick of things after enjoying some days off. Nonetheless, it seems the time has come to recalibrate. J

To make this transition easier, STC Florida has decided to start 2019 off with a bang. We’ve picked yet another highly-requested topic category from our summer 2018 survey. Better yet, we’ve selected our very own Dan Voss to present about it for our January chapter meeting.

I’ve known Dan for a while now. He’s one of the most lively and motivated people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and he has decades of experience with writing proposals—which is what his presentation will be all about.

Please click here and RSVP for “Writing a Winning Proposal: ‘Near Misses’ Only Count in Horseshoes and Nuclear War.” by Dan Voss. Official presentation and speaker descriptions are below. (I think these will give you a sense of his aforementioned liveliness!)

 

Promotion for Presentation, “Writing a Winning Proposal: ‘Near Misses’ Only Count in Horseshoes and Nuclear War.”

In this dynamic and entertaining presentation, 40-year aerospace proposal writer/manager and STC Fellow Dan Voss presents the basic principles of writing a successful proposal, along with a liberal dose of lurid proposal “war stories” from his long career at Lockheed Martin, where he participated on more than a hundred proposal teams that collectively won over $20 billion in contracts for the company.

Worry not, however, that the presentation is relevant only to fiercely competitive aerospace proposals. Originally presented to a graduate class in technical communication at Mercer University in 2014 and since presented at the University of Central Florida, this presentation focuses on basic principles that apply to a much broader range of proposals in which technical communication practitioners may become involved, including commercial proposals, grant proposals, and internal business proposals within corporations. It also applies to job placement and career development … resumes, portfolios, interviews, strategic career advancement … basically anything that involves “selling” a product or service … which may include YOU, as a technical communication student or practitioner.

The marketing principles presented also apply to scholarship applications, awards applications, even radio and internet contests—indeed, all of these are, at the core, “proposals.” The only proposal these principles can’t promote success on are marriage proposals. Dan is still working on that!

 

 

About the Speaker

Dan Voss

Dan Voss is a “retired” but still active proposal specialist for Lockheed Martin who also provides industry training workshops in business and technical communication. An STC Fellow, Dan is recognized for his publications and presentations on diverse subjects at STC’s international conference and was the recipient of the STC President’s Award for his efforts on student outreach. With Lori Allen, he coauthored Ethics in Technical Communication: Shades of Gray, published in 1998—for which he became the only non-engineer to receive Lockheed Martin’s coveted Author-of-the-Year recognition. He has coauthored four research articles for STC’s Technical Communication as well as four articles for intercom. Dan and now-chapter-president Bethany Aguad, then a student at UCF, co-managed STC International’s student outreach and mentoring initiative from 2012 through 2014 and presented at Leadership Day at two international STC conferences. They also coauthored Chapter 5, “Teaching the Ethics of Intercultural Communication,” in an acclaimed anthology of research articles Teaching and Training for Global Engineering, edited by Kirk St.Amant and Madelyn Flammia and published in 2017.

August, September, and October Meeting Recaps

Nick Ducharme

By: Nick Ducharme
Vice President
Florida Chapter, STC

“STC Florida Seeking Virtual Panelist!” was the subject line of one of our email blasts complete with a megaphone emoji and all.

Something really cool was about to occur, which was saying something. I mean, this was going to be our third presentation of the year after we’d already had two total knockout presentations to start off the chapter year! In total, we had:

All of these meetings were revolutionary for our chapter, thanks in part to some minor tweaks in our virtual technology and in-person networking spaces—as well as enhanced focus on the experiences of virtual attendees. We began to designate an online moderator for each meeting, which helped us seamlessly incorporate the lively chat box discussion into all audience feedback and Q&A activities. Plus, all meeting topics this past year were selected based on feedback from this summer’s chapter survey, because your voice matters to us!

August 2018

In Kirk’s August presentation, he balanced compelling cognitive science about cognitive load and sequencing with down-to-earth examples about the way we remember tasks in our day-to-day lives. (I will never look at a stop sign quite the same way again.)

Our in-person networking group enjoys a meal at Chuy’s while several online attendees call in for the August meeting.

Bethany Aguad runs the in-person side of the call while we experiment with a portable screen in a restaurant dining room. From online, Emily Wells serves as our first dedicated online moderator while Kirk St.Amant delivers his presentation.

September 2018

In Todd’s September presentation, he took a methodical approach to the topic of virtual teams by first addressing some of the challenges that can arise (such as lower visibility and less clearly defined responsibilities). Then he tackled how we can address these challenges, which resulted in some lively Q&A from the audience. I had the pleasure of serving as online moderator, and I sincerely appreciate the high level of activity we had in the chat box!

Our in-person networking group gathers at Riptide Software to revisit the conference room format for in-person networking.

Todd Deluca presents to our on-site and virtual attendees. Nick Ducharme moderates the online chat from afar.

The August and September presentations were hard acts to follow. To keep our quality standards just as high in October, we decided to continue making chapter history.

 October 2018

A mixed-media panel discussion. It was an ambitious goal that we had never previously attempted. We had our four in-person panelists already locked in, and we technically could have stopped there. Instead, we made the call to reach out for volunteers who would like to serve as a virtual panelist.

The response was overwhelming, and thus overjoying. Every response to our prompt was a wonderful read. We couldn’t pick just one virtual panelist in the end, so we ended up with two.

I led the panel discussion from the on-site location while Bethany Aguad moderated the chat. Topics of discussion included dealing with intimidation, working with subject matter experts who don’t take well to criticism, effective cross-cultural communication with subject matter experts, and more.

Discussion moderator Nick Ducharme (on left) and online chat moderator Bethany Aguad (on screen) address all panelists.
On-site panelists from left to right are Emily Wells, Dan Voss, W.C. Wiese, and Debra Johnson.

Virtual panelist Beth Anne Carr responds to a question.

Virtual panelist Tina Kister responds to a question.

From the Editor’s Desk

Emily Wells

Technical Communicators of Florida and Beyond,

The holiday season is officially upon us, and I’m here to bring you glad tidings along with a mega newsletter! Read on to learn more about our amazing holiday social or visit our Meetup page for more information.

Next, President Bethany Aguad provides our chapter’s 2018 year in review for her final President’s Corner article of the year, as well as providing a recap of last month’s meeting.

In addition, STC Fellows Dan Voss and Mike Murray provide an update on two changes announced earlier this year, the kick-off of the Leadership Development Program (LDP), as well as STC Florida’s new Values, Vision, and Mission Statements.

That’s all from me for now. I hope to see you at the social!

Catch you on the flip side,

Emily Wells
Communications Chair
Editor, Memo To Members
newsletter@stc-orlando.org

President’s Corner

Bethany Aguad

By: Bethany Aguad
President
Florida Chapter, STC

president@stc-orlando.org

Members and Friends of the STC Florida Chapter,

2018 has been a year of exciting opportunities and challenges for the Florida chapter!

From updating our branding to hosting the 2018 Summit, treasured memories abound. Looking back to my first President’s Corner in August, we have accomplished so much since then:

  • Sharing four educational programs in person and online from nationally recognized presenters (Meetups)
  • Conducting five virtual networking meetings connecting with technical communicators across Florida
  • Hosting our first hybrid panel with face-to-face and virtual panelists (How to Make Subject Matter Experts Your Tech Comm Allies)
  • Formalizing our chapter’s commitment to inclusivity (Our Values)

You all worked hard, dedicating your time and energy to the chapter, and I cannot thank you enough! I especially want to thank David Coe and Riptide for graciously providing meeting space this year. We have had several fantastic programs in their conference room while connecting with our online attendees. We are now truly connected statewide, and I have enjoyed the chance to get to know so many of you this year.

Going into next year, I know we have opportunities to build on this year’s achievements. Volunteers are the fuel that powers our chapter’s success! We are seeking members who want to get involved from short-term projects to ongoing committee roles. If you are interested in getting involved, please reach out to me, since I know we all have talents to share.

Happy holidays and have a wonderful new year!

Get Hyped for this Month’s Meeting!

Emily Wells

By: Emily Wells
Newsletter Editor and Communications Committee Chair
Florida Chapter, STC

Happy holidays!

I know you’ve already heard once from me this month, but since I’m super excited about our holiday social, I wanted to invite you once more to join STC Florida at our Holiday Social 2018!

We invite all Technical Communicators, Alumni, and Guests to join us at Bahama Breeze near Waterford Lakes, where we will be gathering to celebrate 2018 and look forward to 2019.

We always have a good time at our holiday social, and it’s a great chance to meet new people and network in a stress-free environment while also sharing some holiday cheer.

For more information or to RSVP, please visit our Meetup page. I hope to see you there!